Diving into Faction Camps & NPCs


I’ve been playing Cataclysm for about 5 years now, diving in every 6-9 months to see how it’s progressing, and I’ve been very impressed with the game’s growth over the years! This time I’ve fired up the experimental branch and delved into something I’ve never bothered with much before (NPCs) and something which seems to be totally new (Faction camps) - it’s clear there’s a lot of work being done here. While it’s clunky at times, talking to NPCs as a way of giving them instructions makes a lot of sense. I also like that they have some built-in help, even if it’s slightly immersion-breaking. In the interests of trying these things out, I’ve rescued some prisoners, befriended a few NPCs via quests, and started a faction camp with my little band. Some thoughts I have:

  1. I have the recommended “NPC Needs Disabled” mod enabled, so I’m assuming that them being “Very Hungry” most of the time isn’t a problem as long as my faction has plenty of calories distributed via the bulletin board, right? Or should I distribute some food that way, and leave some food “just sitting out” for them to snack on? Follow up: can they replenish their own ammo, for those that carry ranged weapons?

  2. I’ve been having them build wooden shacks via the bulletin board, but is it useful to build things myself via the construction menu at all, or is that only going to confuse them? For example, right now none of them has the skills to make a well, even though I do have the skills and I could just make one - would that count, or would they still have to make one themselves before they’d recognize it’s existence?

  3. I’ve had two issues with construction tools. The first is that if I leave tools sitting out, NPCs seem to help themselves to them - I have no idea why they want to carry multiple hammers, but they sure do! Also, it seems like tools used for constructions aren’t “refunded” after a construction is built - though I wonder if this may just be the first issue in disguise.

  4. Having to dress and equip the NPCs has been a chore. I understand simply saying “Use the best items from this pile!” is way too broad - best according to what criteria? - but would it be possible/is it planned to assign roles to NPCs whereby they could equip themselves? I can imagine roles like Tank (wear the heaviest possible armor), Striker (optimize for hitting hard), Skirmisher (optimize for mobility), and so forth - likely there could also be a setting for “Don’t let yourself get an encumbrance greater than X”. Right now, I have to give one of my NPCs with Unarmed 4 and Cutting 2 a fire axe just so he doesn’t try to wield an army helmet! Having him stay unarmed (which is probably not a great choice anyway) didn’t seem to be an option.

  5. What does the bulletin board “see” in terms of available resources? All items in certain zones? All items within a certain distance of the board?

Any answers to these questions, or really any advice on Faction Camps and NPCs in general, would be much appreciated!

The board sees resources in the applicable zones (Camp Storage and whatever the food one is). Normally all you have to do is make sure the appropriate tools/resources are available in said zones. When it comes to faction camps, your NPCs have to handle the construction or it doesn’t count. Means you’ll have to get your NPC skills leveled, usually by reading to them or having them read on their own.
If your NPCs are grabbing random stuff off the ground, you can set up a no pickup zone for them. That should stop the problem. Regarding hunger/thirst, AFAIK if you have NPC needs disabled it shouldn’t matter for them. That being said, sometimes the game does blow a gasket and have certain NPCs complain about water/food anyway.

I’m new, but I’ve just started the camp building process.

When it comes to 4, different enemies have different kinds of attacks, so I keep changing the loadout on my character and the companion (haven’t been able to recruit anyone else yet). A “change uniform” command with loadouts would definitely be handy.

I don’t have any problem with NPCs picking up stuff, but there are commands to control their behavior, so you may want to take a look at those (combat controls to handle such things as firing when friendlies might get hurt, using ranged weapons, using silent weapons, following distance, etc.).

IIRC it is because help system is a tangle of horrible legacy code and nobody want to wade in there to make it better. And when you choose between in-game, if slightly immersion-breaking help, and out-of-game-only help, in-game is a better option.

Well, if you need something right now, and your followers can’t make it, then make it. But they will not recognize it because it is not a part of a camp (because only structures that made via camp menu are recognized as such).

Regarding construction tools - yes, sometimes they don’t return them to camp storage but that’s not a big deal. As said above, there are options to control their urge to become one with the lootz. You can even set rules for one, then tell others to follow his/her set of rules.

Loadouts would be cool but I think it’s quite quite low on the priority list.

BTW, on zones. You know about zone manager? If you don’t, press “Y”(shift-y) and read about it. If you do, you may not know that zones can be overlapped over each other, so you can, for example, define two zones for spare parts and tools, then define bigger zone for camp storage which will include them both.